The Chair

Abigail opened the front door and stood in her doorway. The house was dark, and she turned to her left to switch on the passage light. Light flooded the passage, but it was not welcoming, instead she could see the dust that had covered the table where she put her keys and the small bookshelf. The house was dusty everywhere. She had not cleaned or moved anything in the house for weeks. She walked to the table and put her keys in the bowl. She closed the front door and double locked it. She walked to the door that lead into the lounge. It was pitch dark in there and she again turned to her left and put the lights on there. Her eyes went straight to the chair. It sat in the corner of the room at an angle, so you could see the television from there.

The chair seemed to take up all the space. It was not a big chair and it was really nothing to look at, it had floral patterns on it and the cushion was squashed in a manner that suggested that someone had been sitting in it for a long time. She hated the way it sat there invitingly waiting for someone to sit on it. she hated that like herself, it was waiting for her husband to come back home. He had loved the chair and had had it since he had been a young man. He had sat in it while watching television, while eating sometimes and all those long nights patting the children’s back as he put them to sleep. He would sit with their children on that chair and read them stories at night. He would sit in while watching sports or while he had a something serious to say. Of course, the children were gone now and all she thought she had left was that chair and the memories it kept.

Abigail walked to the chair and sat down in it. She had not done this in a long time, sit on that chair. Whenever her husband was not around she would curl up and read in the chair, always with her feet tucked under her and a cup of tea sitting close by to the chairs handmaiden, the little table on the right. She sat down and sank deep in the chair. She tucked her feet underneath her and her toes found the spot, it was a small rip on the inside of the chair. She closed her eyes and clenched her jaw. Tears started forming in her eyes and all she wanted to do was cry. But she knew if she did that she would never stop. So, she swallowed her hurt but her jaw remained clenched.

With her eyes closed, she thought back to that day. The day she had started hating the chair. She had been out shopping and she came home and found her husband as usual, sitting in the chair. What day was that? Oh yes, a Saturday. She always shopped early on a Saturday. As she had passed the living room door to head to the kitchen at the back of the house, she had greeted him, and he had looked up from his paper and smiled at her. She blew him a kiss and continued to the kitchen. She had put the kettle on to boil and she was going to make some bacon and eggs. She had prepared a tray with their breakfast and coffee. They would sit and eat breakfast in the lounge as they did most Saturdays. She had sang as she worked setting up the breakfast. She looked forward to the day and later they would go for a long walk. Saturdays in their home, was a time of rest and general lying around. Ever since their children had left, they never bothered so much with the dinning room, unless they had visitors.

She had gotten their tray and smiling, she walked to the lounge. “breakfast is early today my love”, she had said. she had been balancing the tray on one hand so that she could be able to put it down on the table as she moved a few books. He was quiet. She looked towards the chair. Slowly, she lay the tray on the table and she had had a shiver. The room had turned ice cold and her heart was pounding and she felt as though she could not breathe. He looked so peaceful sitting there on the chair. His eyes were closed, and his face did not show any signs of pain. The only tell-tale sign was the way his hands slumped to his sides and the newspaper lay scattered on the floor. She knew then that he had died.

The shock of it sent her to the floor and she kneeled on the carpet looking up at him, her heart felt ripped out and her strength had all but left her. Why hadn’t he made a noise, why hadn’t he called out to her. It seemed like he had just slipped away. He had slipped away from her as she had made breakfast. Of all the things.

Later when they came to take him away, they said it had been a heart attack and he most likely had not suffered much.

She opened her eyes and looked at the table in front of her. She put her head down and smelt his him, sometimes, she thought he haunted this house. She felt as though he stull sat there day and night. She thought this because she could still smell him.

She lay her head on the arm rest. They say people could never really die of a broken heart. But as she sat there she knew it was not true. People could die of a broken heart all right and hers was dying. He had been everything to her and they had done everything together and now all she had was this chair. She closed her eyes and went to sleep.

when her daughter found her two days later because she had not been answering the phone, she was still in that same position. Legs tucked in, head on the arm rest and she looked like she had just fallen asleep.

The children sold the house and as they were going through the furniture in the house, Abigail’s daughter said of the chair “its old and it smells, I don’t know why mum and dad kept it all these years. And to have them both die in it. Well that’s just plain creepy. We should just burn it.” The children burned the chair.

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